Silver lining of COVID-19 for the Indonesian education system

Children are not robots, schools are not factories, moreover, everyone has extraordinary abilities or talents to think and create, and everyone is a genius in their own way.

However, Albert Einstein once said that if a fish that can swim well is forced to climb a tree, it will feel like an idiot for the rest of its life. The same is true if graduation is determined by tree climbing skills.

This is where the importance of adapting the learning program to the condition of each child comes in.

The Personalized Education Program (CEP) understood differences in student conditions, including knowledge levels, skill levels, learning styles, developmental stages, and student interests and talents .

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have turned the world of education upside down with the establishment of online or distance learning (PJJ).

During the PJJ, the government was forced to create an emergency program that allowed schools to prepare a derivative program called the adaptive program that adapts to the conditions of each school.

Schools where most students cannot access the internet have then created a program to visit students’ homes, either just to deliver the modules or even to provide lessons in students’ homes, although the frequency is certainly not not daily.

Founder of Surau Merantau (SM) Tangerang Middle School, Andri Fajria, remarked that (SM) has been implementing CEP since 2016 by conducting various learning activities to help students learn lessons that are right for them.

Definition of CEP

The FFS may raise questions about its implementation or its learning target. The application of the CEP aims to achieve two objectives: to catch up with the students in one or more aspects and to develop the potential of the students.

In order to catch up with the students, the teacher conducts classical teaching and learning (KBM) activities in the classroom, then observes each student during the activity and takes notes.

Fajria said that during the teachers’ meeting, the team of teachers conducted an analysis to identify the cause of the delay based on the findings of each teacher, who interacted with the student.

In the next step, the teacher creates an individual program for the student and then presents the program to all teachers who interact with the student.

The teacher, who teaches the student, will prepare a benchmark during the learning process. Also, at the next teachers’ meeting, the teacher evaluates it to look for any progress.

To make up for the learning loss, the student will be included in the same activities as the other students. However, there is a specific program to achieve. Special activities should be conducted if there are students who are far behind.

Meanwhile, to sharpen students’ potential, the teacher should observe their daily behavior to search for talents and conduct interviews to identify students’ potential.

The results of these observations and interviews will become the subject of discussion at teachers’ meetings.

Teachers then analyze them to identify student potential by paying attention to student progress scores from the previous three to five years. In the next step, the teacher will prepare a special project for the students.

At the next teachers’ meeting, an evaluation is carried out. If the project has worked well for the student, the teacher will suggest internship activities in a location that best matches the student’s talents. In each of these activities, the teacher will carry out an evaluation.

When implementing CEP for the purpose of honing the talent of the student, they can carry out different activities with each other according to their interests and talents.

In applying the CEP, Fajria called for implementing several principles: a student-centered learning process, good cooperation with parents and continuous assessment.

In addition, the use of rich and diverse learning resources, including the participation of practitioners and experts in certain fields, was also deemed necessary. No less important is the interrelation between one activity and another.

Parent’s point of view

The implementation of the CEP has elicited a positive response from several parents of students at SM Tangerang Middle School, including the head of the SME group at Bank Syariah Indonesia Dedy Suryadi and the dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tarumanegara, Prof. H. Ahmad Soediro. , SH, MH, M.Kn, MM

Soediro noted that Learning Activities at SM implemented the Independent Learning Scheme or Merdeka Learning before the Minister of Education and Culture issued the scheme to National Standards Regulation Number 3 of 2020 of higher education.

He also pointed out that the development needs of the community seeking better education were increasing amid the Disruption 4.0 era.

This is where the importance of education and learning methods should become more flexible by implementing the Merdeka Belajar program.

This program is based on the learning styles, talents and interests, as well as the needs of each student, combined with the student-centered learning method and the assessment of interests, talents and needs of each student.

The improvement and development of strategic collaboration with expert partners and/or practitioners, who have skills according to interests and talents, are also necessary for the development of students.

On the same occasion, Suryadi recalled that the strawberry generation will soon come to occupy positions in companies with different characteristics from the current generation.

They are used to learning collaboratively and working functionally. CEP aligns with the characteristics of the strawberry generation. It is also expected that the CEP model of education will become a future model of alternative education.

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